17 Jan 2020

The significance of statistics

From Our Changing World, 8:00 am on 17 January 2020

What if there was a magic number that proved you right?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing - but science behaves as if there is. It is called P or the p-value.

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This podcast, from University of Otago science communication student Ellen Ozarka, explores the funnily named p-value or probability-value.

She asks 'what is a p-value?' and how do we use it?

She also wonders about the consequences of giving numbers too much power.

In science, says Ellen, p-values are often viewed as the only thing that matters, the end all and be all.

But just because that’s how it is, it doesn’t mean that’s how it should be.

In just over 10 minutes, Ellen sets out to not only teach us the statistical basics of p-values, hypothesis testing and statistical significance, but she also busts some myths held, even by scientists, about what these things mean.

She also unpacks one of the biggest statistical controversies going on behind closed doors, and explains what can and should be done about it.

In this podcast Ellen discusses statistics with Steve Ting from the University of Otago. Amanda Wastney, Jay Downes, Sam Hales, and Dan Parke helped with voice acting.

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